The terror and violence of Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon continued in the early hours of this morning, after one of the two suspects allegedly shot and killed a MIT police officer in Cambridge, Mass., according to a press release from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.
The suspects then allegedly committed an armed carjacking in Cambridge; police officers pursued the stolen vehicle into Watertown, exchanging gunfire with the suspects, who reportedly threw explosives in their direction. One of the suspects received a severe injury during the pursuit and was brought to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the release.
After an hours-long manhunt, police were still searching for the second suspect in the bombings in the Boston suburb of Watertown as the Orient went to press. Residents of Watertown have been advised not to leave their homes, and law enforcement and media have swarmed the city.
At a school where it sometimes seems like every other student hails from just outside of Boston, the bombings at Monday’s Boston Marathon and the events of this morning hit close to home. Alumni and current students were among the crowd that lined the marathon route to cheer on runners, and many Bostonians on campus struggled to contact family and friends thought to be in the area of the blasts.
On Monday afternoon, the Orient compiled a list of students and alumni known to be safe. Over a 100 names appear on the list.
Ping Hackett ’11 was on Boylston Street cheering on three alumni on Monday afternoon. Bolyston Street is the traditional site of the finish line, and the site of two explosions Monday afternoon.
“It was super packed,” Hackett said. “The crowd was cheering—a very happy emotional atmosphere. People are finishing a marathon. They ran 26 miles. We were cheering them along.”
Hackett and a group of friends were standing between the locations of the two explosions, looking to the right, the direction from which runners were coming.
“All of the sudden we hear a loud bang off to the left. At first we didn’t see anything and we were just far enough away that panic hadn’t set in,” she said. “Then the second explosion goes off to our right, and it was a lot closer, so it felt a lot louder. You knew it was bad, and it was a moment of absolute panic.”
Hackett said she and her friends grabbed each other and ran to the middle of the street, where they huddled together for about 30 seconds, trying to figure out what was happening and where to go next.
“Where’s the next explosion going to happen, that was my first thought,” she said. “I’ve never felt more vulnerable or exposed in my life, not knowing if there was going to be another one and if it was going to be right behind me or not.”
After about five minutes, Hackett said, she was safe at a friend’s apartment.
Matthew Cowin ’12 was at work in the Hancock Tower, which looms over Copley Square and the finish line of the marathon, when the bombs went off. He said that during his lunch break, he had watched the race from almost the exact spot where the first bomb detonated.
“It’s very, very eerie for you when you know that not long before, you were in the exact place that it happened and it really could have been you,” Cowin said.
From his vantage point above Copley Square, Cowin witnessed first responders sprinting into the billowing cloud of smoke that hovered over the first explosion.
“Even when I walked over to the window just seconds after the blast happened, you could see emergency crews rushing in very, very quickly,” he said. “That was really impressive to see.”
Anna Ackerman ’12 had finished the marathon and was receiving a massage near the finish line when someone told her there was a situation and the building was being evacuated.
“On the street when we got outside there was a very mixed atmosphere of panic and then people standing around completely oblivious to the fact that something had happened,” Ackerman said.
Ackerman went to the lobby of a hotel where she saw news coverage of the bombings. She and her family went to a friend’s apartment and spent the afternoon reassuring people that they were safe.
“We were all getting calls and telling people that we were OK,” Ackerman said
On Tuesday night, about 50 students gathered on the steps of the Museum of Art in remembrance of the victims of the bombings. Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Brian Purnell, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Bob Ives, and Madison Whitley ’13 spoke at the event. Following their remarks, the Longfellows performed “MLK” by U2.
Kim Gilmore ’16 tabled in Smith Union on Wednesday and Thursday to raise money for the family of eight-year-old Martin Richard—who lived down the street from her home—who died in the attack. She said she raised over $500 on Wednesday alone.
“I tried calling my dad like 20 times and it went straight to his voicemail and I was freaking out, but eventually he texted me and said, ‘I’m fine. It’s okay,’” Gilmore said.
The morning after the attack, Gilmore’s father called to tell her that the explosions had killed her neighbor. She said she was not close with the Richard family, but felt compelled to raise money for a scholarship fund for Martin’s siblings. Martin’s mother and sister also suffered sever injuries in the attack, according to the Boston Globe.
Gilmore said she has been surprised at how many people have come to drop a few dollars in her collection box.
“I ran into this lady who’s from Harpswell,” Gilmore said. “She came all the way here just to drop a 20 inside. It’s really nice to see people who never heard of Dorchester before, never heard of the Richards, who really want to help.”
When Dani Lubin-Levy ’13 heard about the attack, she had just met up with her sister, who was running the race, near Heartbreak Hill in Newton.
Lubin-Levy had joined her sister to run the last five or six miles of the race, she said, but the two were quickly told that they would not be allowed to finish. They decided keep running on Newton’s back roads so that Lubin-Levy’s sister could complete the 26.2 mile distance.
“There were a couple people who were pulling over and asking us if we needed rides,” she said. “A couple of people—when we would say she’s finishing her 26.2—started clapping.”
Molly Burke ’13 was in Newton, where she had cheered for her brother, when she found out about the attack. She said she frantically called her family to see if they were safe but was unable to reach them for close to 15 minutes.
Luckily, she said, her brother’s knees were bothering him, so he was still a few miles from the finish line when the bombs exploded. Her brother did not finish the race, but still received a medal on Tuesday.
“I spoke to my brother [on Tuesday] and he went to go pick up his bag,” Burke said. “They gave him his medal, and people were trying to be positive, but he said it was somber.”
Burke said she plans to be back at the marathon next year, despite the terror she felt on Monday.
“This could happen anywhere,” Burke said. “I’m not going to let it ruin an important event.”
Hackett said she felt the same way, but added that she might not be able to completely escape the memory of this year’s marathon.
“I will go back. I’m not going to let them scare me,” she said. “I may rethink exactly where I stand, but I do know that if any of my friends run in the future, I will be there to support them.”